Indianapolis, the state capital of Indiana, is a bustling metropolis, full of high rises and apartment blocks. But it’s actually quite a green city with 212 parks across 11,254 acres, so there’s lots of opportunity for locals and tourists to enjoy a good stomp. And with plenty of lakes, forests, hills, and rivers dotted around the city, taking walks near Indianapolis is a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors and get some fresh air. Here are 7 of the best walks in Indianapolis.
Best Walks in Indianapolis
1. South Overlook Waterfowl Sanctuary Trail
Length: 2.4 miles
Duration: 1 hour
You might be surprised that one of the best walks in the area is right in the heart of the city. This beautiful scenic walk takes you through Eagle Creek Park, the largest park in Indianapolis. Tall trees line the pathway, which is stunning at any time of year. In spring, you’ll find wildflowers and bright green, while in autumn, the trees and foliage break into captivating shades of oranges and reds. You’ll also spot lots of wild berries and plenty of wildlife, including yellow warblers, wood thrush, baby redwings, and more throughout the year. For most of this trail, you’ll be walking along the lovely waterfront, and you can actually swim in the reservoir when there’s a lifeguard around.
2. Camp Creek and Fall Creek Loop
Length: 2.7 miles
Duration: 1 hour
Just venture thirty minutes outside of Indianapolis and you’ll find this lovely, woodland walk. Lush greenery covers the Fort Harrison State Park, complete with two lakes and a river. It’s beautiful and peaceful, the perfect respite from the hubbub of the city. It’s also just enough exercise to make you feel like you’ve done something good while being a leisurely and enjoyable walk. Take a picnic to enjoy by the creek and feel completely immersed in nature.
3. Indianapolis Canal Walk
Length: 3 miles
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes
If you happen to make this walk on 16th March, you might be alarmed by the bright green canal! Every year, Indianapolis dyes its canal green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but that’s not the only time this canal is worth visiting. This urban walk is a nice break from the city, without actually having to leave Downtown at all. It loops around White River State Park, the Indiana State Museum, and more. It’s a lovely place just to go for a stroll, be in nature, and see the sights, but if you fancy a bit more fun, we recommend hopping on a paddle boat to see the city in a completely new way.
4. Lawrence Creek Trail
Length: 4.4 miles
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
This is another walk that takes you through Fort Harrison State Park, a slightly more challenging route than Camp Creek and Fall Creek Loop. It’s also popular with mountain bikers, so be aware that you’re likely to see them around. The hike through the beautiful, fragrant forest is nothing short of fairytale-like, especially during the autumn. With plenty of twists, turns, rocks, and dips through various ravines, it’s exciting and fun as well as beautiful.
5. Starkey Park
Length: 3.2 miles
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
This well-marked trail takes you through the beautiful Starkey Park, a dog-friendly park not far from Indianapolis. It passes by Eagle Creek, where you might be people fishing along the waterfront. This is for those that enjoy the journey rather than the destination, for the woodland walk is beautiful and leisurely but not too challenging. But sometimes it’s enough just to walk through the woods, enjoy the songs of the nearby birds, and take a seat by the water.
6. Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve
Length: 1.3 miles
Duration: 30 minutes
This short and easy trail is the perfect option for those looking for a quick but energising jaunt. The path is a boardwalk that takes you through swamps and luscious forests, you won’t feel like you’re just outside of Indianapolis. While there aren’t many wide-spanning views here, the dense forest and wildlife are enough to keep you entertained and for many city dwellers, sometimes peace and quiet are just what you need.
7. Vandalia Rail Trail
Length: 8.7 miles
Duration: 3 hours
An almost nine-mile hike might seem daunting, but this is an easy and accessible walk through beautiful scenery. It’s less of a hike and more of a leisurely walk that combines nature, history, and the city. Pass over historic bridges and waterways as you discover a segment of the National Road Heritage Trail. You might also sport rare birdlife, including bluebirds, finches, and herons.